The Netflix drama series “Bloodline,” which premiered its first season on March 20, gave creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman an opportunity to explore the “seedy side” of family and the Florida Keys. “Family is something that the three of us have been talking about for many years,” says Glenn Kessler. They wanted “to take what appeared to be a very loving, supportive, together family and see what’s really going on.” (Watch our complete interview with the Kesslers below.)
“Bloodline” tells the story of the Rayburn family, whose lives are drastically changed when black sheep Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) comes home. There’s a mystery at the heart of the story, but while Glenn insists “violent crime has not really been a huge part of our experience,” he feels that “a lot of what we’re exploring is universal … Everybody has a place where they relate to some particular dynamic going on in the Rayburn family.”
The Florida locale was a big part of telling that story. Says Todd A. Kessler, “It kind of, for us, provides a great framework, not only that it feels like paradise and looks like paradise, but then to delve underneath that … The Keys many years ago were founded essentially by pirates, and there’s a certain lawlessness that happens down there.”
The Kesslers had past success as creators of the legal thriller “Damages,” which earned two Emmy bids for Best Drama Series and won Glenn Close a pair of trophies for Best Drama Actress. Along with “Mad Men” in 2008, it was the first basic-cable series ever nominated for Best Drama, and now the Kesslers have joined another TV revolution: Netflix.
“It was a new experience for us,” says Glenn of producing a series for the online streaming service. “There’s very few outlets where you can watch everything at your own time, and that did inform how we were going to tell the story … Those kinds of resources as a storyteller, that you know an audience is engaged and watching things sequentially in the way that you were hoping they might was a great freedom and an exciting thing to take advantage of.”
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